There were no surprise on offer for investors on Thursday (2 June), as the European Central Bank confirmed it has left key interest rates unchanged for the second consecutive month. The bank opted to keep the deposit rate at -0.40% and the headline rate at 0.00%, a decision that is largely in line with forecasts, given the overwhelming majority of economists expected Europe's central bank to hold fire.
In March, the ECB cut its main interest rate by five basis points (bps) to 0.00% and increased quantitative easing (QE) by €20bn to €80bn per month ($89bn, £62bn) , while the deposit facility rate was cut by 10bps to -0.40% and the marginal lending facility rate to 0.25% from 0.30%.
The eyes of worldwide markets will now firmly switch to the press conference of ECB President Mario Draghi, which is scheduled to start at 1.30pm GMT on Thursday 2 June.
Draghi is largely expected to adopt a dovish stance when addressing the markets, although market participants will keep an eye on any clues regarding inflation expectations. Draghi is also expected to address what the ECB's policy will be in the event of a 'Leave' vote in the referendum on Britain's membership of the EU on 23 June.
"We don't expect Draghi to announce additional policy easing at today's press conference, but the discussion and updated forecasts on inflation could move the market," said Claus Vistesen, chief Eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
"Risks are tilted towards an upgrade of the ECB's inflation forecast. This could spook bond investors—pushing yields up—and also drive the euro higher. Draghi will strike a very dovish tone to counter expectations that the ECB is changing course, and we also think the president will re-emphasize that downside risks to inflation and growth remain."